Riyadh Metro on schedule despite KSA spending cutsby Ashleigh McGinley on Mar 10, 2016
The budget for the $23bn Riyadh Metro - which will be completed on schedule in 2019 - is ring-fenced, a senior official revealed.
The confirmation quashes speculation that the project could be scaled back or delayed following a slump in Saudi Arabia's oil revenues.
Since late last year, the government has clamped down on spending to curb an annual budget deficit of around $100bn - slowing or suspending work on some projects.
In some instances, contractors and their employees have not been paid.
However, Alwalid Alekrish, director of construction development projects and project director of the Riyadh Metro, Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA), said the 176km Riyadh Metro has been unaffected.
Speaking to Reuters, Alekrish said questions have been asked about the scaling back of the project due to the slump in oil prices.
He said: "Up to now, we're working as we have since the beginning. Our payments are being done in the contractual period. It's business as usual for us."
Alekrish predicted all six lines and 85 stations would be operational as planned by 2019.
"We've very confident that this is still the date. That's the contractual target. We have not had any instruction to do any sort of reduction."
The metro is being paid for directly from ring-fenced government funds and as such there is no specific debt or borrowings associated with the project, Alekrish added.
The budget remains unchanged - but as a design-and-build project some aspects have yet to be decided such as the interiors of the stations.
"We might think if we're going to cut prices we might change materials, reduce specifications, but up to now that's not the case," he concluded.